Calvin begins a new series in Ephesians, "Living Outside the Box".
Today we see that -"long before He laid down the foundations of the earth . . . God had us in mind . . . . as the focus of His love . . . to be made whole and holy . . . by His love demonstrated in Christ" We belong to God, not because we do something to please Him, but because His Love in Christ changes us as we receive and believe Him.
Abraham's last 40 years were as active as his first 135. So much for our "sunset years" mindset. After Sarah died, he had another family with six more sons. When he died, both Ishmael and Isaac were in attendance and Abraham's maturing faith is revealed in how he dealt with family. He gave respect to every part of the family while recognizing the God given destiny on Isaac. He finishes well. It's an example to young and old . . . teaching us to see life beyond the "border" of what our culture says is retirement age. To the younger crowd . . . don't plan to be done @ 65. To the more seasoned crowd . . . "It ain't over till you say it's over". . . . or more accurately, till God says it's over!!
In Death and in Life, Abraham . . . "Dared to be different". His journey of faith had impacted in his core values. When Sarah dies, he does not participate in the local burial practice . . . When he wants a wife for Isaac, he sends his servant with specific instructions as to where she is to be from and where the new couple will be living. No going back to where God brought us from. No wife from the Cananites.
Here is one of those . . . "God how could you . . . ? moments in Abraham's life. God asks him to do the "unimaginable". Abraham . . . now more than 40 years into his faith journey with God . . . trusts God enough to load up the donkey with wood, bring his servants along with Isaac and "step by step" begin to follow God's direction. This is another "God Story" in Abraham's life that not only points the way for us, but also foreshadows what God did Himself . . . for us.
Abraham and Sarah have received the promised son. Things should be "sailing along" smoothly, Right? Not so!! In the middle of a great celebration for Isaac, family dysfunction breaks out to disrupt everything. Once again "the God story" continues. God gives Abraham specific direction. Abraham trusts God with Ishmael's future. God demonstates His faithfulness and provision to Hagar and Ishmael. God reveals Himself and brings freedom to hearts wounded and trapped in offenses of the past and present.